The new museum is the result of the 1986 voter approval of a special $29.6 million levy. Another $25.4 million came from private gifts. Robert Venturi (b. 1925) designed the building. The third and fourth floors displaying Japanese, Korean, and Islamic art opened on January 31, 1992. The new building enables the display of much more of the museum's 10,000-piece collection.
The Volunteer Park Museum was remodeled to house the museum's Asian art exhibits.